PROJECT ONE: High Five for Mental Wellness
Supported by some of the best doctors and mental health councillors in Canada Creative Spark Founder Rob Heighington was encouraged to share his personal “high five” pillars which he developed with their help for his own mental wellbeing and better health overall.
PROJECT TWO: College/University symposium
After a decade of success working with K-12 students it was suggested late 2019 (by Seneca College and McGill University) Creative Spark host a collaborative symposium in Canmore/Banff to address stress and anxiety amoung students in first year college and university.
WHY A SYMPOSIUM?
Colleges and Universities are eager to take the lead.
First year college and university dropout rates are high. Much of this can be attributed to the mental health of students during a time of high stress and social instability.
While universities and colleges across Canada are making ongoing improvements supporting their students many HR Directors*5 as well as their college and university professors agree much more can be done.
Governments and organizations such as the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and Bell Let’s Talk acknowledge this is a growing concern. Improving the mental wellbeing and psychological resilience of first year college and university students is paramount.
EXAMPLE: Teen violence in high schools is a serious problem in Canada. It is often found to overlap in first year college and university communities causing fear and real danger amoung students, this stress contributes significantly to first year dropout rates.
Solutions to this problem are being addressed at the High school level. Unfortunately, only some post-secondary institutions are dealing with this effectively while others are less successful. Collaboration amoung post-secondary institutions will address this problem at the Symposium, aligning their strategies with national stakeholders and dovetailing with high school programs that have been effective.
Based in the beautiful Canadian Rockies we are excited to host the Mountain Symposium here in the Bow Valley (Banff and Canmore AB).
PROJECT THREE: Mountain Mondays
“Despite best efforts by some of the most amazing mental healthcare professionals across Canada it never ceases to amazing me at the number of people that reach out for help regarding mental health concerns for themselves or someone they care deeply about. Good for you for reaching out, sucks if you don’t know where to go next.
Aside from being a friend that can listen, if, like me, you’re not an expert in the subject you can at least help the person seek professional support – period. Don’t pass Go, don’t tell them to explore they’re inner sole, just tell them talk to an expert, seek professional help.
One doesn’t have to be suicidal, the mental health continuum starts with simple anxiety and depression, bad thoughts, bad habits and goes from there. And, by the way, real experts are not living in the past or on a vibrating carpet of hemp, they have good current knowledge and I hope, good credentials . Not all mental health support is about medication, some is, some not just therapy but by all means ignore the stigma and talk to someone who knows what they’re talking about.
When in doubt call your provincial health line, they will direct you accordingly. In Alberta if you have a health concern or you’re not sure where to go for help, speak to a nurse on their free, round-the-clock, telephone advice and health information service: call 811.
CREATIVE SPARK ART
Creative Spark Art Program – Middle School
Based on the award winning Creative Spark project the middle school component consists of three x 40 minute classroom sessions. Merging art history with an innovative creativity exercise that includes hands-on art using professional grade artist materials. Students have something cool to take home, put on their refrigerator.
High Energy Improv Event – High School
The Creative Spark – Logon for Mental Wellness connects face to face with teenagers delivering a unique high-energy program. Directed by Second City trained improv instructors high school students perform humorous and provocative improv skits with topics ranging from mild anxiety to teen suicide.
Community Mental Health InformationThe Creative Spark
program reaches out to each community to learn what “connections” are working and what are not when it comes to supporting young Canadians struggling with Mental Illness. In a continuous loop, community specific mental health information is fed back into The Creative Spark Portal – see below; Intuitive Technology.
Based on who is looking for what, The Creative Spark – Logon for Mental Wellness helps to declutter the Internet search process delivering applicable and community specific information online. Backed by state-of-the-art internet “App” technology The Creative Spark frames multiple sources of on-line information providing intuitive access to community specific, youth focused mental health support.